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The plan - or what there is of one

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Trapper Zoid


It's time for the second in what may be a long continuation of over-long rambling posts of possibly no interest to anyone except me. But I guess that's what journals are for!

In this entry, I'll write a little bit about what I plan to be doing in the next few months. I do intend to eventually post more about exactly what I'll be working on, but there's probably too much to put in a single post, so I'll break things up a little and leave that till later.

Firstly, my goal is to become a great game designer. To do that, I'll need to do one of the following:

  • Join a game company, work my way up to the position of game designer, then build my great idea

  • Form my own team, with me as the designer

  • Work on a game by myself

As I described in my first journal entry, I've already tried the "join a game company" approach, and I don't think that's the right way for me. I don't see myself working my way up to game designer within a company; everyone wants to get that job, and pretty much all my game concepts are too unconventional and risky to be accepted by your common garden variety marketing manager at a publisher. I could try and form my own team, but that involves little things like "leadership", "people skills" and "charisma", which aren't qualities I'd use to describe a deranged anti-social misfit such as myself.

So I'm going to have to work on a game by myself, and that means learning all the skills required by a game team up to an acceptable level. However, I'd also like to do this anyway, for a number of very good reasons:

  • I'm insane

  • I like to learn new things, so learning a whole new set of skills is a lot of fun to me

  • Game design is an interesting skill that melds together both logic and creativity. By being skilled in logical skills, like programming and mathematics, and in creative skills, such as art, music and writing, will help me gain the skillset I need to be a great designer

  • In fact, there's a number of things I'd like to do that require skill in multiple areas. Interactive music, for example, requires me to be skilled in both programming and music. Interactive storytelling requires programming and writing skills. And if I get time, I'd like to do automated artwork as well

  • I'm insane

Hence my goal for the rest of the year is to hone up on all my skills so that I'm in a position to work on games properly. I don't need to be an expert in every area, just "good enough". And while if I decide to go be an professional indie I'll most likely contract out work, it will definitely be worth it to have the skills to fill in the gaps by myself.

In brief, here's my current appraisal of my game development skillset:

  • Game Design: Untested, since I haven't completed a large game yet that I've designed. However, I think my designs are reasonably good. Only a complete game will be able to tell this one

  • Game Programming: Rusty as all hell. I used to be a decent C programmer, even got hired as one at a developer. But I've let my skills lapse as I worked more on algorithm design in the last few years. My C++ is also very sketchy. But I've been a programmer for most of my life, and I've always been writing stuff in one language or another, so I don't think revising this skill will be a problem.

  • Creative Writing: So rusty it defies belief. I was pretty good at creative writing at school, but high school killed off my creative writing passion. Hopefully I can rekindle it with practice.

  • Music Composition: Novice. I've played music for a few years as a kid, but I've never really written anything until now. I'm working on this at the moment.

  • Artistic Skills: Dire. With the dint of much scribbling, I think I can finally raise my skill set from just "programmer art" to also be able to draw in the style I call "cutsie-wutsie". This limits my games somewhat to cartoonish domains, but at least that's something. But I seem to be able to only draw in pencil, and not that well. When I try to draw on the computer, even using one of those small Wacom tablets, it never seems to work like I expect it to. I probably just need more practice, as usual...

There's a lot of work that needs to be done if I can create games that I'd feel happy with. Luckily I have the forums here to help me with the difficult bits. Expect to see lots of posts from me asking for help about all sorts of things in the next few months.

Of course, that's not all I'll be doing with regards to my game making hobby. I'll also be designing my big overambitious game project, as it's the game designing that I find the most fun. But as usual, this post has gone on way too long already. So I'll have to wait until next time to start the description of the game idea. See you all then!
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I certainly wish you luck in the adventures surely unfolding as we speak. :) If motivation is in low supply, just ring the bell and myself -- alongside the slew of fellow game developers on here -- will drop by and offer their optimistic advice to get you back on track. You can't lose!

EDIT: Oh, and welcome to Journal-Land!

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Thanks! At the moment I'm more motivated than I've been in a while, but that's mainly due to catching the general buzz of enthusiasm that's generated from this site. There's also a lot of work ahead of me, so it's good to know that I've got a bunch of other enthusiasts to turn to for advice.

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